Guitars is an AUTHORIZED DEALER for all these manufacturers
listed on this page which means any pickups you purchase purchase from us
carries the full manufacturer's warranty.
FRALIN PICKUPS- We love Lindy's J-Bass pickups. They come as close to the pre-CBS Fender sound as you can find. We're talking amazing bite and growl!! We have installed them in countless basses
and what is rather amazing is how consistently good they sound. They are
wound by hand by Lindy and his staff in Richmond, VA.
- CURTIS NOVAK PICKUPS- If you're looking for the highest quality hand-wound "boutique" pickups then check out Curtis Novak. Curt has been hand winding pickups for 20 years and has studied the methods of the masters. He is quite adept at "scatterwinding" which many feel is one of the secrets to great tone. He offer a traditional J style pickup which are dead-on replicas of pre-CBS Fender J pickups, as well as a hum-cancelling "split" J pickup.
|Novak Traditional J
||Novak Split J
- JOE BARDEN
PICKUPS- These are really something special and totally noiseless too. You now can take advantage of the famous Joe Barden double blade design for your J-bass. These have remarkable tone, clarity, power, and responsiveness. Designed to maintain authentic J-Bass tone and character but with extended frequency response and articulation that characterizes all Joe Barden pickups. Like all other Joe Barden pickups, the J-Style pickups exhibit quiet performance for live performance or recording.
PICKUPS- These are
amazingly toneful pickups. Carey Nordstand is an established manufacturer
of fine high end
basses and a former employee of Suhr Guitars. We carry the following 2 models:
- NJ4 - Pure and classic true single coil pickup for those that are seeking a great vintage tone and traditional design. The NJ4s are a great all-around pickup for all music genres and playing styles.
- NJ4SV - A hum-canceling split-coil jazz pickup, the SVs deliver that classic single coil tone but without the noise and 60 cycle hum that plague most true single coil designs. This set is tonally as close as you can get to being a clone of the original NJ4 single coil. The SVs are very even and balanced from top to bottom and deliver classic, instantly recognizable tones with sweet highs, punchy mids, and rich lows.
- NJ4SE - Like the NJ4SV, this is a split coil hum cancelling design. They use the same hand wound pattern found on the NJ4's but with the finer 43 gauge enamel wire. The natural character of this design is to have more pronounced lower mids, and an ever so slightly muted high end. This makes them ideal for fingerstryle players that are going for a solo bridge pickup sound with good 'bark' and 'heft'. They are also totally hum cancelling!! Pickup length: Bridge = 3.725", Neck = 3.600"
- DIMARZIO - DiMarzio
is a fine USA company located in Staten Island New York. DiMarzio has been around for a very long time and practically invented
the after market pickup space. Engineer Steve Blucher is world renowned
for innovative pickup designs. We really like the hum-canceling Ultra Jazz set which provides excellent output and a very strong midrange punch. We also like the Model J set and offer this as an option as well.
Tone Options & Upgrades
- Each assembly comes by default with a high quality .047 uf Mallory 150 Series capacitor at no extra charge. We find these to be an excellent choice for bass providing both reliability and a smooth tone. We offer the following upgrades:
- PASSIVE MID-SCOOP/TONE SWITCH UPGRADE - This versatile control allows you to toggle between a variable treble cut and mid-cut
- When the push-pull
switch is down this functions as a standard tone control which cuts
- When the switch
is in the up position it becomes a mid-sucker that scoops mids as you
turn the knob down which works great for slapping.
SOUND CLIP: Here is a sound clip of this control used in a Jazz Bass recorded by pro bassist Tony Senatore. Tony played a Mexican Jazz bass equipped with Nordstrand NJ4 pickups along with one of our JX5 prewired harness with the mid-scoop/tone switch. The sound clip plays the same 2 bar slap phrase 3 times :
- The first time the slap phrase is played in full treble mode
- The second time the same phrase is played in full bass mode. In other words, the push-pull switch is in the "down" position and the tone knob is rolled almost all the way down (to about 1).
- The third time the phrase is played in mid-cut mode and you will notice how the slaps and pops really jump out. To arrive at this setting, the push-pull switch is in the "up" positino and the tone knob is rolled almost all the way down (to about 1).
Mallory 150 Series capacitor
Capacitor Upgrades for Standard Tone Control
Passive Mid-Scoop/Tone Switch Upgrade
- Choose between 250K and 500K. For most pickups 250K pots will work best, however you may want to try 500K pots for a brighter tone, usually appropriate for hotter or overwound pickups which can use the extra highs. We use only the highest quality pots money can buy. All pots are tested and treated with Caig DeOxit for long trouble free use. Please note: If selecting the Mid-Scoop/Tone switch (above), the tone pot will always be 500K.
Control Plate and Knobs
- Each assembly optionally comes with a high quality control plate and/or vintage style plastic black knobs if you wish. If you want to use your own knobs, make sure they are the kind of knobs which are tightened with a "set-screw" (as opposed to the push-on knobs).
A Few Words About Installation
- Installation will be easy. The assembly comes prewired, except for the pickups so you will need to make exactly four solder connections, plus your string ground. Each pickup wire will need to be soldered to an assigned color coded lug and we will provide detailed instructions, as well as heat shrink tubing to insulate the connection. You will not need to do any routing to install this assembly. We are now offering a solderless option (see info below).
- Special Note about JX5 Fit - On most J-basses the JX5 will drop in pretty easily, and other J-basses it will be a tight fit and might require a little "fussing" to get it to fit. If you are uncomfortable with the process, we recommend you bring the JX5 to a qualified luthier for installation as this will be a very simple task for a good tech.
Solderless Option - only available with pickup purchase - NEW
We are now offering you a solderless option when purchasing prewired J assemblies with pickups for a $35 upcharge.
- We can wire your assembly with pin and socket connectors, thus eliminating the need for soldering. The pins and sockets are color-coded, so all you will need to do is match the colors and connect corresponding male and female connectors. Your assembly will include 4 pin/socket pairs, as well as an additional wire to function as your string ground. This additional wire won't wire won't have a pin/socket connector. You will simply need to lay the exposed part of the wire under the bridge plate.
Long Will It Take? - please read before ordering
Each assembly is hand wired
and tested one at a time to your specs so turn around time is approximately 2-3 weeks.
Refund Policy - please read before ordering
Pre-wired assemblies are custom made one at a time for you to your specs and thefore cannot be returned for a refund since the parts cannot be sold as new.
A Few Words About Active vs. Passive Electronics
The prewired bass assemblies described on this page are entirely PASSIVE, meaning no battery is required. To view our active offerings, click here.
The Case for Passive Electronics:
We certainly value active circuitry, find all too often that bassists have a tendency to hide behind it to compensate for lack of confidence, but the end result is that natural tone has been compromised. The most organic tone you can get out a bass is to use passive electronics. Have confidence in your sound and musicianship and let your natural tone shine through!! Think about this list of amazing bassists whose tone was produced by good old fasioned passive electronics:
- Chris Squire-- "Yes"-- Rick 4001
- Jaco Pastorius - stock 62 Jazz bass with concentric pots
- James Jamerson -- Early 60's P bass.
- Jack Bruce - "Cream" - 1968 Gibson EB-3
- John Paul Jones - "Led Zeppelin" - 60's Jazz bass
- Allen Woody- "Gov't Mule" - 1968 Gibson EB-2
- Felix Pappalardi - "Mountain" - Gibson EB-1
- John Entwistle - "The Who" - Gibson Thunderbird
- Geddy Lee - "Rush" - Rickenbacker 4001 and Fender Jazz bass.
- Paul McCartney - Hofner beatle bass
A common myth regarding passive circuitry is that you somehow get short changed because you may perceive a larger variety of tonal options out of active preamps. This is false. We have listed 10 great tonal variations you can get passively without any batteries. If you haven't played around with these you are missing something good.
Series - combine 2 pickups in series for a NATURAL mid-boost and volume boost
Parallel - combine 2 pickups in parallel for a traditional sound with less mids
Out of phase - wire 2 pickups out of phase for an unusual and thin sound
Coil Cut (for humbuckers) - short one coil of a humbucker commonly referred to as a "coil tap"
Passive Mid-Cut - using a "notch filter" midrange frequencies can be cut using entirely passive electronics
Passive Treble-Cut - Vintage tone provided by standard tone controls
Varitone - 5 or 6 position rotary switches can be used for either pickup selection or for a wide range of tonal filters
Experiment with Potentiometer Values - Do you need a brighter tone, try 500K or even 1 Meg pots.
Treble Retention Circuit (aka Volume Kit) - Common guitar mod to prevent the loss of highs experienced when you lower your volume
Stereo - Wire your bass is stereo sending each pickup to a different amp for a wonderfully complex tone
Some Customer Feedback
Read Product Reviews from ActiveBass.com
When I found your site I was looking for a volume/pan/tone assembly like your JBB unit. However after browsing through your very informative web site and studying the various options, the JX5 looked like it would not only do what I wanted, but might also offer some additional tonal versatility. The sound clips on your site convinced me to give the JX5 a try, so I ordered one five days ago.
The JX5 assembly arrived today -- I was very impressed with the fast turnaround! The unit was very well packaged and the instructions were exceptionally clear and easy to follow and it only took me 15 minutes to install (including the time it took to find the proper screwdriver and my elusive soldering gun).
I installed this on a 1999 MIM five-string and I am amazed at the different tones it offers -- and I haven't even fiddled with the tone knob yet! The #1, #2 and #5 positions satisfy my original desire of
having a quicker, easier way of combining pickup signals than fiddling with two volume knobs. However, in the #3 position it thumps like a P bass (just like your web site says) and at #4 I get a bright, funky sound that I swear sounds like a vintage Rickenbacker. For the very reasonable price of your JX5 unit I feel like I am getting three basses in one!
You have a very well-designed, easy to use and informative web site, fast order fulfillment, concise, well-illustrated installation instructions, and an outstanding, high quality product.
Thank you -- I couldn't be happier!
Mark Tully, Bassist
I had heard about your prewired harnesses on various bulletin boards and decided to try one for a Jazz Bass Project I was building called The Dream Jazz Bass ... not only was I pleasantly surprised at the outcome, quality of merchandise and overall customer service, but so was the luthier who assembled my bass - he actually told me that he was considering not giving me the bass, and instead, would make me an offer to buy it! All this was possible because of the attention to detail that Rothstein Guitars put into their product and pickup matching recommendation(s) ... I recommend them highly and with my network of musicians in the Southeastern US, that is a whole mess of guitar and bass players ... great job and keep up the fantastic work!"
Brian Delgross, Bassist
I Love it already!
Francis Hernandez, from the band "He's Dead Jim"